Friday, January 31, 2014

Common Mistakes with Painting

Today I'm going to talk a little about common mistakes while painting. These aren't some top five I found in some article or anything, but are ones that I find myself on the wrong end of. Maybe you do some of these too. Who knows? Let's find out together shall we?

1. Impatience

This one is pretty obvious. When you get impatient about wanting something to be finished then you don't produce your best work. You end up pushing the paint around instead of actually finishing, and that my friend leads to mistakes.

2. No Clear Vision

Now this one isn't always a bad thing. Some of my neatest paintings have come from just rolling up my sleeves and diving in without any idea of what I want. However this way of working can easily backfire, and you end up with more of a mess than anything else. 

It's especially dangerous if you have an idea of what you want to do, but no idea how you want to go about doing it. I had this problem recently. I wanted to do one particular type of landscape, but dove in first without an idea of how to proceed. It was only after I'd started that I looked at reference pictures and as a result had to redo some of my work. It was a downward spiral from there, and I ended up scraping the project instead of wasting more paint on something I couldn't save.

3. Over Correcting

This one I know is common among most artists. It's when you see something you don't like, and so you correct it. Only then you see another thing. And another. And another. Soon your painting has changed so much you no longer like it. You can also correct so much that in your correcting you make a blunder.

I did the latter of the scenarios once while doing an intuitive painting. It was really gorgeous, but had a couple of white spots. In trying to correct the white spots I completely messed up the flow of the painting to the point where it couldn't be salvaged.

4. Not Letting Things Be

There comes a point in painting where you need to walk away. It could be you've spent too much time looking at the darn thing and you're starting to go cross-eyed, it could be you don't know where to go from where you are and are feeling hopeless, or perhaps it feels like it might be finished, but you aren't sure.

When you become unsure it's best to take a breather and walk away. Sometimes that's all you need. Sometimes you need more time. What you're hoping to achieve is a different state of mind. A fresh outlook. If you don't do this and just stare at the canvas you won't get anything done, or worse you make a mistake that messes it up. The same thing is the case for something that's finished, but you're unsure about it. If you don't sit on it you can end up having to redo the whole thing.

5. Not Trusting Yourself

This is a big one. Ultimately, with anything in life, you must trust yourself. If you aren't able to listen to that part of you that tells you it's enough, to do something this way instead of another, or to not put the paintbrush in your mouth then you end up with a lot of problems. You must have confidence, at least a little, or you'll never get anything done. What's more, when you have finished you'll be easily swayed by the comments and criticisms of others.

So these are my top five issues I have while painting. They don't always come out, but when they do it's super annoying! However, if I just chill a bit, relax, breathe, and then re-access the situation usually I can get through whatever the problem is. So if any of you suffer from these issues make sure you try to do the same.

I wish you luck in all of your creative endeavors.


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